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Benjamin Moore Ben vs. Regal Select: What’s the Difference?

Are you preparing for a painting project but can’t decide between Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select?

In this comparison of Benjamin Moore Ben vs. Regal Select, you’ll learn how these paint lines differ in terms of coverage, durability, VOCs, drying time, finishes, price, and more.

I also reveal what the paint experts at Benjamin Moore retailers are saying about Ben and Regal Select. 

Let’s get started!


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Similarities Between Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select

Before I dive into the differences between Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select, let’s take a quick look at the similarities.

Both have fast drying times, are splatter resistant, and are protected with Gennex Color Technology.

Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select_Gennex Color Technology

Gennex is a zero-VOC water-based colorant specifically designed for Benjamin Moore paint. It resists fading and stands up to harsh outdoor elements.

It gives the paint vibrant hues and is why you can’t match Benjamin Moore’s colors with other paint brands.

Benjamin Moore offers the same colors across both Ben and Regal Select. And, when it comes to color, there is an impressive selection of options.

With both paint lines, you get access to Benjamin Moore’s Personal Color Viewer, which helps you pick the right color. The tool allows you to upload a picture of the room you’re painting and visualize how each color would look.

Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer
Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer

Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select are both paint and primer combos. Unless you’re painting over dark-colored walls, you won’t need to use an additional primer.

Benjamin Moore Regal Select_Paint and Primer

Another efficient quality of Ben and Regal Select is the fast drying time. Both paints dry within one to two hours, making it possible to recoat a surface on the same day.

Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select boast smooth and splatter-resistant applications. You spend less time worrying about getting paint everywhere and can accomplish more detailed jobs easily.

The number of recommended coats is also the same for Ben and Regal Select. Only one to two coats are needed to complete your paint job with either brand.

Cleaning your painted surface is easy because both paints only need soap and water to remove stains and dirt — no need for specialty cleaning products. 

Clearly, Ben and Regal Select have plenty in common. However, they also have several distinct differences, which I break down next.

Differences Between Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select

In this section, you learn about how Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select differ in terms of drying time, finishes, durability, price, and more. 

You’ll also get a better understanding of what volume solids and VOCs are and why they matter in your selection.

Volume Solids

“Volume solids” is a common term you might come across when shopping for paint. But what are volume solids?

Paint is made of four elements: pigment, binder, solvent, and additives. When paint dries, the solvent evaporates and the binder hardens, leaving the pigment, binder, and additives.

The term volume solids refers to the ratio of pigment, binder, and additives to solvent. In other words, it’s what’s left after the paint dries.

Paints with higher volume solids are thicker in texture, so you need fewer coats to complete a job.

Paints with higher volume solids also deliver more surface protection. More surface protection means superior resistance to elements that wear down the paint.

Now that you understand what a volume solid percentage means, you can compare the differences between Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select.

You can find the volume solids for all Benjamin Moore paints on their technical data sheets.

But, instead of wasting your time digging through those to compare Ben and Regal Select, I’ve done the research for you.

The charts below display the volume solids by finish for both interior and exterior paint.

FinishBen Interior Volume SolidsRegal Select Interior Volume Solids
Flat31.5 +/- 2%37.8 +/- 2%
MatteN/A42.7 +/- 2%
Eggshell35.0 +/- 2%41.1 +/- 2%
PearlN/A40.1 +/- 2%
Semi-Gloss39.0 +/- 2%36.1 +/- 2%

As you can see, Regal Select has higher values of volume solids for interior paint except for the Semi-Gloss finish.

FinishBen Exterior Volume SolidsRegal Select Exterior Volume Solids
Flat34.5 ± 2%42 ± 2%
Low Lustre33.3 ± 2%43 ± 2%
Soft Gloss35.2 ± 2%42 ± 2%

In the exterior comparison, Regal Select boasts a higher volume solids percentage across the board.

VOCs

VOC or “volatile organic compounds” are solvents released into the air while the paint is drying. You might also find these compounds in other household products like cleaning solutions and adhesives. 

Inhaling these solvents can cause dizziness and headaches, which is why paint brands offer products with low or no VOCs.

Benjamin Moore Ben paint has zero VOCs. Therefore, it gives off a minimal odor, making for a more pleasant painting experience. 

Regal Select has a 47.9 grams per liter (g/l) VOC level, which is compliant with the Ozone Transport Commission and puts this paint in the “low-VOC” category.

Just because a paint brand has no or low VOCs doesn’t mean there aren’t other chemicals present. Always paint in a well-ventilated area, regardless of the advertised VOC level.

Dry Time

It takes two hours for Benjamin Moore Ben paint to be dry to the touch. However, the brand recommends waiting four hours before adding another coat of paint.

Regal Select is dry to the touch after just one hour, and it’s ready for recoating in only one or two hours.

Finishes

Paint finishes will affect the amount of sheen on your surface.

Both Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select offer finish selections in: flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss.

However, if you’re looking for a more comprehensive selection, Regal Select has additional finishes like matte (slightly more sheen than flat) and pearl (slightly more sheen than eggshell).

Consider Regal Select if finish selection is a determining factor in your decision.

Stain Release Technology

An exclusive feature of Regal Select paint is its stain-release technology, which makes it easier to clean 

While you can clean Benjamin Moore Ben relatively easily with soap and water, Regal’s stain release means that you spend less effort and time cleaning.

Price

One of the most significant differences between Regal Select and Ben is the price.

Regal Select has a higher volume solids percentage and a unique stain release technology. Therefore, it’s more expensive than Ben.

While cost varies by finish and where you shop, you can expect to pay about 50% more per gallon for Regal Select.

Check out the chart below to compare the prices of Benjamin Moore Ben vs. Regal Select.

Paint View Price
Benjamin Moore Ben Interior (Flat)AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Ben Interior (Eggshell)AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Ben Interior (Semi-Gloss)AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Ben Exterior (Flat) AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior (Matte)AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior (Eggshell)AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior (Pearl)AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior (Semi-Gloss)AceHardware.com
Benjamin Moore Regal Select Exterior (Flat) BenjaminMoore.com

What Experts at Benjamin Moore Retailers Say

I reached out to several Benjamin Moore retailers to get additional perspectives on Ben vs. Regal Select.

When I spoke with each paint expert, I asked a simple question: what’s the difference between Benjamin Moore Ben and Regal Select?

The paint expert at Aubuchon Hardware in Concord, New Hampshire, told me that both are premium paints. He said that Regal Select is their best-seller by far. It offers excellent coverage, goes on smooth, and is washable.

He mentioned that Regal Select isn’t as thick and doesn’t cover as well as Benjamin Moore’s most expensive paint, Aura, but it’s easier to work with and less costly.

He said Ben is Benjamin Moore’s entry-level paint. It’s not as washable as Regal Select, and it won’t stand up to much abuse.

Candidly, he said they sell Ben to renters and people who don’t care if the paint doesn’t last a decade. If you rub against the walls, there’s a good chance the paint will chip off or show scratches.

He also mentioned people without kids or pets can get away with Ben. Otherwise, you’ll save money long-term with a higher-quality, more durable paint like Regal Select.

Jokingly, he used the metaphor that Ben is silver, Regal Select is gold, and Aura is platinum.

To get another opinion, I spoke with the paint expert at Green’s Hardware, which is an authorized Benjamin Moore retailer located in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

He said Ben is a lower-grade paint compared to Regal Select. It won’t cover or level as well and could take up to three coats, especially if you’re painting over dark colors.

He mentioned that Regal Select is a mid-range paint in terms of quality and price. It never requires more than two coats and provides excellent coverage. He noted that it’s slightly thicker than Ben but still goes on smooth and levels evenly.

Like the expert at the other retailer, he confirmed that Regal Select is the paint they recommend the most to homeowners. It will hold up over time but doesn’t cost as much as Benjamin Moore Aura, which is the brand’s highest-tier paint.

The overall sentiment I took from these experts was that Regal Select is higher quality, more durable, and easier to clean. Ben is good enough for walls and surfaces that won’t get much abuse, but you can’t expect it to last nearly as long as Regal Select.

What Others Are Saying

The opinion of the experts that sell Benjamin Moore every day is important, but what’s everyone else saying about these paint lines?

Several independent companies tested and reviewed Ben and Regal Select. Here’s what they thought.

The New York Times tested several brands and awarded Regal Select the best overall interior paint. The experts touted the high quality of Regal, saying that though it is higher in cost, it’s worth the price.

The article says that the paint went on walls impressively smooth, was easy to roll, and barely showed any brush strokes after it dried.

Benjamin Moore Ben was given honorable mention status in the same New York Times article naming it “The Budget Pick.” The experts noted that Ben is not as thick as the premium Regal, but it’s a reliable choice that costs less.

Good Housekeeping praised Regal Select for its quality coverage, resistance to staining, and resistance to wear and fading.

Benjamin Moore Ben received a three-star rating from Good Housekeeping. It got points for its resistance to fading, but it lost points for not being as resistant to scratches and for splattering when applied.

Bob Vila named Regal Select one of the top interior paints. The experts praised its ability to resist fading and mildew and the stain release technology. They also loved that it didn’t leave behind any brush strokes. Ben wasn’t mentioned in the article.

Dengarden, a community website run by home and garden enthusiasts, wrote a Regal Select interior paint review.

His overall review is positive. He explained how easily the paint stuck to his roller and dried within an hour, and he only needed two coats to complete the job. He also mentioned there was little to no splattering and a barely noticeable odor.

The only slightly negative point was that Regal is higher in price, but the price was worth the quality result.

Bottom Line: Should You Use Benjamin Moore Ben or Regal Select?

Now that you know the key differences between Benjamin Moore Ben or Regal Select, it’s time to decide which paint is right for you.

But, before I give you my recommendation, let’s recap the key takeaways:

  • Both paints are water-based, paint and primer in one, and have Benjamin Moore’s proprietary Gennex Color Technology.
  • Both are fast-drying, only need one to two coats of paint, and clean easily with soap and water.
  • Regal Select has higher volume solids than Ben, making it thicker and more durable. 
  • Regal Select dries quicker than Benjamin Moore Ben.
  • Benjamin Moore Ben has three finishes, while Regal Select offers five.
  • Regal Select boasts stain release technology, making it easy to clean and more resistant to wear.
  • Benjamin Moore Ben costs about 50% less than Regal Select.
  • Both brands are highly recognized and positively reviewed paint brands.

Bottom line — Regal Select is thicker and offers superior coverage and stain resistance, but it’s more expensive. Ben is Benjamin Moore’s entry-level, budget-friendly paint.

Regal Select is the paint that Benjamin Moore retailers recommend most often. It’s one step down from the brand’s most premium paint, Aura, and one step up from their more affordable paint, Ben.

If you have the budget, go with Regal Select. It will cover better and last longer. If not, Ben offers solid performance and is an excellent overall value.

For more information, visit your local Benjamin Moore retailer or check out Ben and Regal Select paint on AceHardware.com.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s studied consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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